Rod Holder on Old Town Canoe Gunwale

I posted this in the fishing section but got no responses so I apologize for cross posting.

Some Old Town canoes come with Scotty rod holders mounted on the gunwale. However, the bases for the holders are wider than the side of the gunwale. In the pictures it looks like there are only two screws into the gunwale. Is just putting two screws in enough to support the rod holder even though it usually has four? Does anyone know how these are installed? I have one and want to install it but would love to know the proper method before putting holes in my new Osprey. Any advice would be appreciated.

I mounted one in my pack, but mounted it to the thwart which worked out pretty well. I was faced with the same question you’re asking and what I was going to do was: Make a small 2" X 4" piece of wood and give it a good coat or poly. I was going to mount that under the gunwhale with 2 screws down through the top of the gunwhale in the wooden block. Next i would have mounted the scotty mount with 2 screws into the gunwhale and 2 into the wood block. I was in the process of making the block when I decided that mounting on the thwart would work ok and would be within reach from the seat. I hope I explained this in an understandable manner.

Thanks for the reply…
…I like your piece of wood idea. However, I am trying to avoid having anything like screw heads on top of the gunwale. I often slide the canoe upside down and would like to avoid scatching anything. Also I have the three seat version of the osprey so there is no thwart to put a rod holder on.

Cane Seats?
If your canoe has cane seats, any chance on taking 2 pieces of wood, put one on each side of the seat (top & bottom) and screw them together. That will give you a base to fasten the rod holder to, although you will lose one of your seats for sitting purposes.

Either that or take the seat out and fashion yourself a thwart wide enough to fasten the holder to.

good luck


Thanks for the suggestion. It does have wooden seats but I really would prefer to mount in on the gunwale. The middle seat is set up for rowing and I’d rather not have it on the other two seats as it may interfere with paddling. I am pretty set on placing it on the gunwale half way between the middle and back seats.

Another type of rod holder
I don’t mount rod holders permenantly on my boats for the same reason you note - screws heads are just asking to scrape the top of my car! I use the rod holders that Cap’n Redbeard sells.

No affiliation just a satisifed customer. These are easy to put on and work on lots of different gunwale types.



– Last Updated: Apr-15-10 4:33 PM EST –

Pictures of how I installed my Scotty mounts. Not a problem car topping. You should still be able to slide the boat.

You can always recess the screws into the gunwhale. You most likely have screws there already to mount your seat(s), yoke/ thwart etc.

On A Thwart
What about making a clamp on thwart just for that. I have one set up for my Spirit Sail on several boat. I just unscrew it and move it from boat to boat. No holes, the thwart comes off in one piece and gets stored when not in use.


Thanks for all of the ideas. I am leaning towards a permanent attachment to the side of the canoe as I like to have things as simple as possible and I would like to avoid adding any obstructions to the middle of the canoe.

I am thinking of shaping a piece of wood to place under the gunwale between the holder and canoe wall and then bolting the holder into place. I would put two upper bolts through the gunwale and the lower bolts through the wood and side of the canoe. If I get just the right length bolts there shouldnt be too much sticking out the side of the canoe.

Does that sound like it would work? Any warnings before I put more holes in the canoe?

make sure it won’t interfere with your paddling stroke.